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Life Arts    H4'ed 5/4/10

Nothing is Secure

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Message Joan Marques
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A while ago my most respected colleague visited me in "my" office at work with the suggestion that I should accept a full time position so that I would "be more secure" of primary and secondary benefits. I couldn't help but smile, because the expression "being secure" always has that effect on me. Why do we always want to be secure? Admitted: it is an ingrained phenomenon and a human tendency to strive for security. But how many of us have not found out personally by now that security is a farce? If not even our next breath is for sure, how could any process, position, or relationship be? We often live with the idea that our job provides security. But how secure is our job? Even if our employer promises solemnly that he will not let us go because we're such hard workers, who guarantees that our employer does not die tomorrow, or changes his or her mind, or sells the entire company? Or that the economy in the country disintegrates in such a way that our employer is forced to undo his promise? Or that we suddenly feel that we want to do something else with our lives and leave this job by our own free will?

In private matters security is also a slippery subject. People get married and promise to love and cherish one another till death does them part. And then we see that within a year some of them go their separate ways. Others may stay together, but do so for other reasons than love and togetherness and become bitter for the rest of their lives. And of course there are also those that truly remain happy together for an extended amount of time, and that is beautiful.

Yet, the main point remains that when we stand at the commencement of a situation, whether private or professionally, it always seems so promising and we think that this will be a "sure shot." That happens because we are captured in the moment. But human beings are interesting creatures that don't differ that much from animals, even though we don't like to admit that. In foundation we are just as fickle as any other living organism, and we discover that, at certain points in time, our desires and interests subside or disappear in one area, and emerge or increase in another. However, in the meantime we have often "secured" ourselves in a relationship or contract, and have to go through tremendous pains to step out of that without too much hazard. Oftentimes, others criticize us then, because they consider us to be "unreliable."

Observed from a distance, our human community is truly amusing. In our quest for "security" we have built institutions that rob us from our natural needs and maneuver us in positions that make us deeply unhappy and cause us to be dictated by others what is -and is not- good for us. That may also explain why eruptions emerge and why there are so many "infidels" among us. It can all be attributed to the fact that we have created a misconception of endurance about everything, and become disheartened when this misconception turns out to be what it is: a sandcastle.

Enlightened by experience, I now regularly present this take on life in my presentations. I explain that nothing is secure: not your job, not your relationships, not even your life. Everything can be different tomorrow. If you perceive life that way, you don't get disappointed so easily, and you can be so much more open and relaxed in your approach toward everything. You perceive each relationship, personal or professional, as a gift that you may cherish as long as it lasts, but that you will have to let go when it's time. Because this is secure: nothing is secure.

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Joan Marques is the author of "Joy at Work, Work at Joy: Living and Working Mindfully Every Day" (Personhood Press, 2010), and co-editor of "The Workplace and Spirituality: New Perspectives in Research and Practice" (Skylight Paths, 2009), an (more...)
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